People the world over will be amazed and marvel as a powerful empire centered in Europe emerges suddenly to dominate the world for a brief period. It’s called the “Beast” in the Bible. It will in turn do the bidding of a powerful system of religion rooted in idolatrous worship, deceiving mankind, and called “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” In this message is discussed some of the background of this system as revealed in the Bible and in the pages of history.
Image from Martin Luther’s 1534 translation of the Bible. This work (the image) is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author’s life plus 100 years or fewer. In public domain in the U.S.; published before 1927.
A woman who grew up in a Church of God family reports that her mother was severely beaten during those years. Her father claimed he beat her mother to “get her under submission,” and that the beatings were necessary for her salvation and to beat “Satan out of her.”
He beat her with various objects, including a Bible. He was careful to leave bruises only where they could be covered up, so it wouldn’t be obvious to others what was happening.
He not only administered frequent beatings, but also abused her verbally and mentally. He berated her, calling her filthy names, and used various tactics to keep her in a state of cowering fear, uncertainty, and mental anguish.
The man’s “church face,” however, was quite the opposite of his behavior at home. In public he was kind and courteous, complimenting his wife, doing acts of service for others in the Church. For years, few knew or suspected that he was an abuser, although some later admitted they knew “something bad” was going on, but did not know what to do about it.
Unfortunately, this story is only one of who knows how many examples of abuse that have occurred among families in the Church of God over the years. I know personally of several similar examples.
It’s important that we understand what abuse is and what God’s word really teaches about it. We need to understand clearly that there is never a justification for abusive conduct, and that God condemns abuse.
For approximately the past 6000 years, since mankind rebelled in the Garden of Eden, the earth has been under the curse of Satan’s rule. Satan has not ruled without restraint. God has remained supreme over the universe, including the earth, but to a large extent he has allowed Satan to influence mankind. And Satan, within certain parameters, has remained, as referred to in 2 Corinthians 4:4, and other Scriptures, as the “god of this age,” or of this world.
The result of Satan’s influence has been a history of oppression, warfare, famines, widespread poverty, deception, ignorance, disease, crime, and other evils that have plagued mankind. What the world needs is a new kind of government, a government not of Satan, nor of men, but of God, the benevolent Creator, and author of every blessing, including life itself (James 1:17-25; Acts 17:24-25). The time when that new government appears may not be far off, although no one on earth knows for certain the exact time when it will happen (Matthew 24:30-36).
How that future world will be different is the exciting and greatly encouraging subject of a planned series of articles, of which this is the first.
“Proclaim liberty,” Scripture says (Leviticus 25:10; Isaiah 61:1). For the better part of human history, most of mankind has been in bondage. Indeed, in a sense the entire creation has been subject to bondage in certain respects (Romans 8:20-21).
Many are unaware that even now many millions are literally trapped in slavery, human bondage. The story of how men have enslaved one another, and subjected their own kind to bondage, denying them liberty, is surveyed in this article. The good news is, liberation is coming for all mankind, not only from physical slavery but from slavery to sin, as well, yet in circumstances many will not expect. Continue reading →